SOUTH AFRICA: Transnet Freight Rail has conditionally awarded private operator Traxtion Sheltam paths on the Cape Corridor, but there were no compliant bids for train paths on the Container Corridor.

A total of 19 parties had expressed initial interest in 16 slots on the two corridors which are being made available as part of reforms which could eventually lead to vertical separation of infrastructure and operations.

By the August 31 deadline, Transnet had received two applications for the Container Corridor from the port of Durban to Gauteng, and one application for the Cape or South Corridor linking inland areas with the port of East London.

On November 25, Transnet announced that neither of the two Container Corridor applicants met the requirement to use electric locomotives, though Traxtion Sheltam’s application for the Cape Corridor complied with first stage requirements and would progress to further evaluation of safety and other operational readiness requirements. Subject to passing, Traxtion Sheltam would enter into final negotiations for paths between Kroonstad and East London with a view to commencing operations in the 2023-24 financial year.

‘There is a way to go before this becomes a reality but in principle we are looking forward to working with Transnet to achieve the goal of true private third-party access to the rail freight network’, said Traxtion CEO James Holley, adding that the company is ‘extremely committed’ to third-party access to unlock the freight potential in South Africa.